UA Systems Opt Out of Faculty Conceal Carry, Lawmakers Push Forward With Plan to Legalize It

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The flagship institution of the State of Arkansas has said ‘no’ to firearms on its campuses yet again.

On Thursday, the University of Arkansas systems board of trustees opted out of classroom conceal carry for its faculty and staff, but lawmakers are hoping to pass a bill in 2017 that would take away the decision power.

The current act, Arkansas Act 226 gives public universities in the state the option to allow its faculty and staff to conceal carry if they are permit holders.

By a vote of 7-to-2, the University of Arkansas systems decided its schools would remain gun-free for another year.

“We still have these random shootings which are taking place in gun free zones, as crazy killers are planning and plotting to murder our loved ones,” said Charlie Collins, State Rep. District 84, the bill’s sponsor. “By allowing conceal carry holders, who the killers never know when and where they’ll encounter them, that means we have a chance to deter them. They’ll pick somewhere else where they won’t face the risk of somebody pulling a gun on them unexpectedly.”

He attempted to pass a measure last year automatically opting in schools, but the plan stalled in the senate.

It would have given university administrators the option to require conceal carry permit holders take additional training. Though, it would have taken away power from boards altogether. To that, Collins says university trustees are just one constituency and people deserve safety.

“Really, the only way to count on stopping a bad person with a gun, is for a good person with a gun to be there too,” he said.

Greg Leding, State Rep. District 86 argued against expansion of the bill. “God forbid you do have a shooting on campus, more guns means it’s more likely somebody innocent is going to get shot. In terms of student enrollment and athletic recruiting, I think there are a lot of downsides to putting a policy like this in place,” he said.

Leding describes Act 226 as a compromise and says anything more is unnecessary.

“We absolutely have a gun violence problem in this country but I don’t think you’re seeing it on campuses, we’re talking about gang violence and domestic violence and the occasional person who just snaps,” said Leding.

“If we’re worried about keeping our campuses safe, let’s focus on something like sexual assault,” he said. “It’s not a partisan issue, you saw Republican Governor Nathan Deal veto this legislation recently and retired Admiral Richard Mcraven who’s president of the University of Texas system, he opposes this policy and he’s a staunch second amendment supporter.”

Collins says he’s optimistic the bill will pass in 2017.

Since Act 226’s inception, no school in the state has opted in.

This story was originally reported by Tevin Wooten. You can follow this report and more at Tevin’s Twitter or Facebook page.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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